How can you tell if sudden and unexpected dental pain or a dental accident is an emergency? While it’s always a good idea to contact your dentist as soon as possible, some pain requires emergency care, and others can be managed until you can attend an appointment.
To help you decide what to do when dental pain strikes, here are some tips about what situations make immediate treatment necessary.
Emergency Care is Needed for a Lost Tooth
An accident or fall can result in a tooth being lost. If your tooth is knocked out, broken, or cracked, receiving immediate dental treatment is necessary. Why? Because the chance to save your tooth decreases very fast – in fact, in 60 minutes or less after such an injury happens, saving the tooth becomes more and more risky.
Can you find your lost tooth? If so, call your dental team right away, and follow these steps:
- Rinse your tooth in water, no other substance, and be sure to hold your tooth at the top of the crown, not the bottom
- If there is any tissue still attached to the tooth’s root, do not wash it off
- When possible, hold your tooth into the socket it came from. Not possible? Then bring the tooth to your dentist’s office carried in a container that holds milk or some of your own saliva
- Be sure to rinse your mouth, using warm, never hot, water
- Press a cold pack or compress on the outside of your face at the site of the injury
Even if your tooth can’t be saved, seeing your dentist is critical. If the tooth is permanently lost, a dental implant can be inserted to replace it, which is as sturdy and permanent as your own tooth.
Emergency Care for a Tooth That’s Cracked, Broken, or Chipped
Depending on the severity of the injury to your tooth, you may not need emergency care. However, be sure to still reach out for a timely appointment. Minor chips and breaks are usually addressed with a filling or bonding material; broken teeth may be fixed by using a restorative crown.
If you’ve lost a crown or a filling, you should also call your dental team right away, but these issues don’t mean an emergency visit is called for.
Emergency Care for Tooth Pain
While no trauma may have occurred if you’re experiencing a sudden tooth pain or ache, or one that quickly becomes severe, call your dentist ASAP. Whether a visit is urgent or you can schedule a prompt appointment should be discussed with your dental team, who can help you assess just how urgent your pain may be.
Urgent treatment is necessary should your gums, jaw, cheek or neck become swollen, or if a wisdom tooth becomes impacted and requires extraction. An abscessed tooth, which occurs when a pocket of infection grows at your tooth root is also a reason for emergency care. Whether this occurs from decay or for any reason, such an infection can spread throughout your body, and should be addressed rapidly.
Is It a Dental Emergency?
The best way to decide if you need emergency dental care is to reach out to your dentist. We can help you assess whether you need to be seen right away or if you can set an appointment time.
Don’t hesitate to call if you experience severe pain, the loss of a tooth, a cracked tooth, gum or facial swelling.
Call Us If You Need Emergency Dental Care
If you’re in pain and need emergency care, whether you need to be seen immediately or schedule an appointment, contact us. We’re ready to assist you with any emergency dental situation, today.